Difference between revisions of "Pronunciation of Sanskrit words"

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* consonants followed by an '''h''' are slightly more aspirated, but the difference is subtle.
 
* consonants followed by an '''h''' are slightly more aspirated, but the difference is subtle.
  
A few common compounds are:
+
Commonly used conjunct consonats:
*'''kṣa''' pronounced ''kscha''. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words ''rākṣasa'' and ''kṣatriya''.
+
* '''kṣa''' pronounced ''kscha''. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words ''rākṣasa'' and ''kṣatriya''.
 +
* '''tra''' pronounced like the ''tra'' in ''trap''. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word ''mantra''.
 
* '''jñā''' which depending on the area is pronounced either "j-nya" or "gya". This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words ''jñāna'' (pronounced either j-nyana or gyana) and ''prajñāpāramitā''  (pronounced either praj-nya-paramita or pra-gya-paramita)
 
* '''jñā''' which depending on the area is pronounced either "j-nya" or "gya". This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words ''jñāna'' (pronounced either j-nyana or gyana) and ''prajñāpāramitā''  (pronounced either praj-nya-paramita or pra-gya-paramita)
  

Revision as of 08:40, 6 August 2016

Since the Sanskrit alphabet consists of a number of letters and sounds that do not exist in the Latin alphabet, certain additional signs, so-called diacritics are required in the Latin script for the representation and transliteration of these sounds. In Sanskrit each letter represents one and only one sound. In English the letter a for example may indicate many sounds (e.g. fat, fate, fare, far) but not so in Sanskrit.

There are five different kinds of diacritical signs:

  1. a horizontal line on top of a vowel. E.g. ā
  2. a dot on top for the guttural nasal sound
  3. a dot underneath a letter. Eg.
  4. a tilde for the palatal nasal sound ñ
  5. an accent for the palatal sibilant ś

Pronunciation:

  • a horizontal line on top of a vowel (e.g. ā) indicates a long vowel. Long vowels are held for about twice the length than their corresponding short vowels. E.g. a is pronounced like the "a" in "fat", and ā is pronounced like the "a" in "father" or as in "harm". This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words Tathāgata or Padmākara. Here, the emphasis lies on ā.
  • e, o, ai, and au can be counted as long vowels and thus the vocal length is prolonged as well. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word Vairocana. Thus, ai and o are held longer than the two following short a's.
  • is counted as a vowel in Sanskrit. The sound of is a combination of "r" followed by a short "ee"-sound, e.g. as in "rich", unlike "reef". This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word Amṛta.
  • a dot on top for the guttural nasal sound . E.g. like in wrong. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word Saṅgha.
  • a dot underneath for reflection. In the case of the letters , , , , , the difference is too subtle, so we can neglect this and pronounce the letter as if there was no dot.
  • the is an unvoiced breath following a vowel. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the syllable āḥ.
  • an accent for the palatal sibilant ś equals a "sh"-sound, like in fresh. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words Śūnyatā, Śākyamuni or Śāripūtra.
  • the sound is very similar to ś. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word Śeṣa.
  • a tilde for the palatal nasal sound ñ. This sounds equals ny, like in canyon. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word Mañjuśrī.
  • consonants followed by an h are slightly more aspirated, but the difference is subtle.

Commonly used conjunct consonats:

  • kṣa pronounced kscha. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words rākṣasa and kṣatriya.
  • tra pronounced like the tra in trap. This becomes apparent, e.g. with the word mantra.
  • jñā which depending on the area is pronounced either "j-nya" or "gya". This becomes apparent, e.g. with the words jñāna (pronounced either j-nyana or gyana) and prajñāpāramitā (pronounced either praj-nya-paramita or pra-gya-paramita)


Overview

a but not bat
ā harm not ham
i pink
ī peep
u put
ū boot
rich
table
e mess
ai aisle or pie
o beau
au down or hound

References

  • Source: This presentation is partially based on Charles Wikner's A practical Sanskrit Introductory and Sanskrit für Anfänger by Thomas Lehman.

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External Links